Deterring Ambush Predators With Rear-Facing Eyes, Faces, etc.

EnolaGaia

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maximus otter

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EnolaGaia

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Also used in India against tiger attacks: ...
Once upon a time, it seems ... This tactic was used some decades ago in the Sundarbans area, but it was abandoned:

Various measures were taken to prevent and reduce the number of tiger attacks with limited success. For example, since tigers almost always attack from the rear, masks with human faces were worn on the back of the head by the villagers in 1986 in the Sundarbans, on the theory that tigers usually do not attack if seen by their prey. This had temporarily decreased the number of attacks, but only for a short while before the tigers figured out it was not the front of the human being so the villagers no longer wore them for protection.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_attack#Measures_to_prevent_tiger_attacks
 

EnolaGaia

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This tactic was used some decades ago in the Sundarbans area, but it was abandoned:
This prompted a random thought ... There are old myths and legends worldwide - including India / southern Asia - about creatures / beings / demons with backward or reversed feet. These include such things as the chural, bhoot, abarimon, antipode, ciguapa, curupira, and Pichal Peri.

I wonder whether any of these historical legends originated with backward-facing mask wearing practices (for predator deterrence or some / any other purpose).
 

Spudrick68

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This almost fits into an Ignobel awards category.
 

Sharon Hill

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This prompted a random thought ... There are old myths and legends worldwide - including India / southern Asia - about creatures / beings / demons with backward or reversed feet. These include such things as the chural, bhoot, abarimon, antipode, ciguapa, curupira, and Pichal Peri.

I wonder whether any of these historical legends originated with backward-facing mask wearing practices (for predator deterrence or some / any other purpose).
I've always been fascinated with the backwards feet legend. Do you have any good sources for this? I often come across it just mentioned in passing as a funny trait.
 

EnolaGaia

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I've always been fascinated with the backwards feet legend. Do you have any good sources for this? I often come across it just mentioned in passing as a funny trait.
I don't know of a single reference covering all the reversed-feet legends found worldwide. It's a surprisingly common motif or trope, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone research all these variants as examples of a single global theme or phenomenon.

I brought up the question of a connection here only because rearward-facing masks represent the first mention I ever saw of a practice that might explain how someone would believe there were (fully functional) people with reversed feet.
 

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I remember reading in one of those sensational "monsters among us" books in the 70's about an explorer in Tibet who found bare foot prints in the snow, going backwards. He began to follow them, thinking he'd hit the jackpot and found a Yeti.

It turned out to be a holy man walking backwards as a sign of his devotions.
Not only that, he greeted the explorer in perfect English. It turned out he was a graduate of either Cambridge or Oxford (I forget which).
 

MrRING

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Well, that's a bit of a wind-up, but it is a weird story!
https://news.yahoo.com/why-did-scientists-paint-eyes-221215993.html
excerpt
For four years, researchers painted fake eyes on hundreds of cattle butts for the sake of science. What seems like a silly prank, the “eye-cow technique” proved lifesaving for the animals as it made predators rethink their attack, choosing another meal instead.

The scientists say their method is a more humane and “ecologically sound” alternative to lethal control and fencing used to separate cattle from carnivores. The team even theorizes the technique could be used to prevent human-wildlife conflicts and reduce criminal activity, according to a news release. A study was published Aug. 7 in the journal Communications Biology.
 

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There is a recent indian movie called Bulbbul. That features a demon woman killing people, who has her feet turned backwards. It doesn't get into the significance of that though.
 

escargot

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There is a recent indian movie called Bulbbul. That features a demon woman killing people, who has her feet turned backwards. It doesn't get into the significance of that though.
Backwards-turning feet are a common feature of supernatural creatures like demons in various cultures.
 
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